AS the NCAA Basketball season gets into full flight we’ll start finding more plays on a day-to-day basis.
Here’s our best bets for the action ahead:
Mercer @ Memphis
Mercer’s strong start to the season has come crashing back down to earth after back-to-back losses pushed the Bears back down to a .500 record.
Losing to Colorado as 2.5 point favourites was a real blow for the team before being blown out on the road at Tennessee.
A trip to a much improved Memphis team doesn’t bode well for them, despite their offence being able to light it up from downtown.
Mercer are shooting at over 40% from beyond the arc to start the season, but the Tigers are holding opponents to just 29.9% from deep on their home court.
If the three-point shot isn’t dropping for Mercer they could have a tough time getting going offensively, especially with the advantage Memphis has inside.
The Tigers hold a good edge in rebounding here to go with their defensive advantage and we love the small line that’s on offer. The number is heavily skewed by the fact that the Bears are averaging 72.7 points per game this season, but that number is inflated given their early schedule.
They’ve averaged just 65 points in their last two games and are allowing teams to shoot at 48.4% from the field when on the road. We have a good lean on Memphis covering and expect this number to climb again by tip-off.
Tip: Memphis Tigers -1.5 @ $1.86
Old Dominion @ VCU
This is probably one of our favourite plays so far this season for a few reasons – one, the better team is favoured by only two baskets and two, the better team is the only team capable of scoring.
VCU are averaging 81 points per game to start the year – shooting at 47.2% from the field, which includes hitting at almost 40% from deep.
The Rams have been slowed once, and that was when Michigan held them to 60 points in a tough game that VCU probably deserved to cover (they lost 68-60 as 7.5 point underdogs).
Old Dominion have a somewhat deceiving record at 5-2 given their schedule, and the fact they’re 3-3 against the spread is more reflective of their inconsistencies.
In fact, they’re 0-2 against the spread in both their losses – one as 6.5 point favourites on the road, and one as 4.0 point underdogs in a double-digit loss.
While the Monarchs have the ability to slow down VCU’s scoring a tad, they won’t do a better job than top-tier Michigan and that means they’ll struggle to keep the Rams under 75 points.
That doesn’t bode well for a team that has been held under 70 points in four games already this season.
The home team has covered four of the last five meetings between these sides, while the Monarchs are a woeful 3-14 against the spread in their last 17 visits to VCU. Expect the trend to continue and the number to rise by tomorrow morning.
Tip: VCU Rams -3.5 @ $1.84